|Carruthers' Demise, Chapters Twelve and Thirteen (standard:drama, 3077 words) [7/24] show all parts|
|Author: Brian Cross||Added: Aug 27 2011||Views/Reads: 1068/701||Part vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Carruthers' wife has gone missing in the New Forest, and he's desperately trying to track her down.|
Chapter Twelve Carruthers spent a miserable afternoon in the hotel bar, more populated than he'd hitherto seen it on account of the adverse weather. His intentions of returning to the Forest and tracking down Foulkes thwarted by the conditions, he was running things through his mind for the umpteenth time and getting nowhere when a hotel porter came in, laying the local afternoon paper on a table opposite. Its headline immediately caught his eye: “Leading writer disappears in Forest mystery.” Carruthers got to his feet, taking the paper in his hands as calmly as he was able. Unfolding it he took in the smaller print beneath the main headline, getting hotter as he read, “Local police are not regarding Mrs. Carruthers disappearance as suspicious, believing it to be of domestic origin.” To hell it was domestic origin, but that thought drew his mind to her diary, because if Chelsey had returned for it, then forming any other conclusion was going to be difficult. It struck Carruthers that he hadn't checked with reception; somebody might just recall giving her a spare key. However, a trip to the reception desk proved negative and left Carruthers wondering just who had taken Chelsey's diary, and why. It was a development that needed reporting to the police considering their insistence that Chelsey's disappearance had been of domestic origin. He needed some fresh air and stepped out of the foyer to find the humidity had subsided a little. The rain had ceased apart from the occasional spot and pockets of brightness were showing through the heavy cloud. After leaving a message on Sergeant Higginbotham's phone concerning Chelsey's missing diary, Carruthers chanced a walk along Lyndhurst's main street, painfully aware that twenty four hours had passed since her disappearance. Twenty four hours that had seemed an age. He turned right at the foot of the hill, crossing over a cattle grid to find himself in a wide expanse of country park. He wandered for a while without rhyme or reason, following a hilly trail between bracken and heather which led loosely in the direction of Beaulieu, before aware of the growing weariness in his legs he diverted onto a sandy track winding down to meet the Beaulieu road. From there he followed the road back to its junction with Lyndhurst High Street, noticing to his right a green mound, on top of which stood a bench in the shade of a huge yew tree. It was a steep climb for Carruthers' ailing legs, and resting his back against the bench he drifted into an unpleasant slumber, vaguely aware of the wind rustling the yew's branches, and then of something more tangible – his mobile jarring him back to life in what was now approaching twilight. ‘Marty, it's Casey, where are you?' ‘Still in Lyndhurst,' Carruthers answered tiredly. ‘Still no sign of Chelsey?' ‘No...' he trailed off, searching his pockets for his cigarettes. ‘I heard there was some kind of incident last night.' ‘Yeah...' Carruthers didn't want to be reminded of it, ‘you could say that.' ‘Marty, I'm coming down.' Carruthers gripped his brow, what he wanted now was a good sleep, not his brain spinning in a late evening conversation with Casey – ‘Casey it's late...' ‘I'm halfway there. I anticipated you'd have returned to Lyndhurst. I'm so worried...' Click here to read the rest of this story (314 more lines)
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